Nigel Pearson sacked: Sam Allardyce, Martin O'Neill, Roberto di Matteo and Neil Lennon linked with Leicester City job

Premier League club thrown into turmoil by shock decision to sack manager

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The Independent Online

Leicester City took the football world by surprise last night when they decided to relieve manager Nigel Pearson of his duties.

The 51-year-old has lifted both League One and Championship titles with the Foxes, across two spells in charge, before leading the Midlands club to Premier League survival last term.

But a host of off-field misdemeanors - including telling a supporter to 'f*** off and die', grappling with Crystal Palace midfielder James McArthur and calling a reporter an ostrich - have soured relations with the Leicester hierarchy.

Following an unsavoury incident which saw his son James, along with fellow youth products Tom Hopper and Adam Smith, being sacked for recording a racist sex video in Thailand, Pearson's position became untenable.

The Independent understands the former Southampton and Hull City boss was informed of his dismissal without prior warning by vice-chairman Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha on the phone last night.

What happens next for the beleaguered Premier League club? Here are some of the candidates being linked with the vacant post.

Neil Lennon, Bolton Wanderers

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One way Leicester chairman Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha could make amends with the Foxes faithful, following their hostile reaction to last night's developments, could be by hiring a fans' favourite.

With 170 appearances at the old Filbert Street to his name, during a four year spell where he won the League Cup twice, Neil Lennon most definitely fits the bill.

The Independent understands he is the leading candidate and could be approached in the coming days.

The only problem, aside from his lack of experience managing in the Premier League, is the fact that he only joined Bolton last year. Would he be willing to jump ship so soon after taking a new job?

With three Scottish Premier League titles to his name, alongside two Scottish Cup successes, he won all there is north of the border, but questions remain over his credentials in England.

Sam Allardyce, unemployed

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Former West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was hounded out of Upton Park by a faithful who believed his football philosophy wasn't sophisticated enough to take them to the next level.

With the Hammers set to move into the 55,000-seater Olympic Stadium next season, they have elected to entrust Slaven Bilić with the job of ensuring their transition is a smooth one.

However Leicester are in a similar phase of flux. With talk of expanding the King Power Stadium to 42,000, the Foxes hierarchy have set their sights on a top ten finish next season.

Whether they are likely to see the former Bolton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle boss as the man to achieve those dreams remains to be seen.

Roberto di Matteo, unemployed

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Recently relieved of his duties at Bundesliga side Schalke, former West Brom and Chelsea boss Roberto di Matteo may fit the profile at Leicester.

Famously lifting the Champions League with the Blues in 2012, following Andre Villas-Boas's premature departure, his stock has fallen somewhat since his controversial sacking at Stamford Bridge.

After an impressive spell with MK Dons in League One, di Matteo soon guided the Baggies to promotion from the Championship before his successes at Chelsea - which included lifting the FA Cup.

If Leicester want a high-profile manager who understands English football, they may have found their man in di Matteo.

David Moyes, Real Sociedad

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 Leicester's track record in recent years would suggest they will chase a big name this summer. Step forward David Moyes.

The former Manchester United boss has steadied himself in Spain following a tumultuous spell at Old Trafford which saw him sacked before his first campaign in charge had even ended.

Three-time LMA Manager of the Year, Moyes has a reputation for being a smart operator in the transfer market after regularly pushing Everton towards the Champions League spots on a shoestring budget.

His lack of any silverware of note, however, may put Leicester off and there is nothing to suggest he would even fancy a spell back in the Premier League so soon after getting his fingers burnt at United.

Sean Dyche, Burnley

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Despite suffering relegation back to the Championship with Burnley last season, the 'Ginger Mourinho' is still a popular figure across the country.

That is, if online forums are anything to go by, in Leicester. Sean Dyche's men were locked in an intense fight for promotion with the Foxes two years ago and the ill-feeling remains for many King Power Stadium regulars.

Chiefly among their complaints is Dyche's occasional references to their financial muscle giving them an advantage over their rivals. It would certainly be a brave move should the Foxes board decided to approach the Burnley boss in the coming days.

Martin O'Neill, Republic of Ireland

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Whenever the Leicester job becomes available, you can bet your last dollar that Martin O'Neill's name will crop up.

The 63-year-old guided the Foxes from second tier obscurity to consistent top-ten Premier League finishes over a five-year spell in the East Midlands in the 1990s.

Also lifting two League Cups and securing European football for the Filbert Street club, the Northern Irishman is still referred to as O'God in Leicestershire and its surrounding areas.

The Independent understands that chairman Srivaddhanaprabha senior has approached O'Neill on at least one occasion in the past and would appear likely to try once more. It would certainly appease any disgruntled supporters.

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